Terrorism: The Effects On Children

A child psychologist from Norfolk has told Heart there's a risk that terrorism could be having a damaging effect on children.

Terror, death and destruction have all been dominating the headlines and now a child psychologist is warning that it could be having a damaging effect on children.

Richard Gilham from The Norfolk Community Health and Care Trust told Heart;

"Children need to see us getting on with our daily lives, they need to see us be able to limit the amount of news coming into the house because i think it would be easier having all these stories coming into the house without any break on that."

"There are agencies around us who are able to keep childen and adults safe, i think for children they can sometimes feel overwhelmed by all of the news that's coming in and maybe feel who is there to turn to when they are worried?"

"They need reassurance"

Since the Paris attacks last November The NSPCC has been measuring the number of counselling sessions dealt with by ChildLine where the young person mentioned concerns about terrorism. 

In total they had 542 counselling sessions between November 2015 and June 2016. 

The main themes are young people being scared/fearful of terrorist attacks happening here and racial/faith based bullying. 

Between 1st November to date we have seen on average 2-3 counselling sessions per day about racial/faith based bullying, however, in the aftermath of some of the high profile attacks these numbers have increased to as high as 7-9 per day.

Here are some examples of calls to ChildLine:

"I'm really worried about revenge attacks by ISIS in this country. I talked to some of the kids at school but they don't really seem bothered about it. It's really shocking to see it all over the news and it makes me really nervous. I don't understand what is going on; it's really confusing. I just hope my family are ok when they leave the house." (Boy, 12)

"People at school have been picking on me because I wear a headscarf. They say that I must support ISIS, and call me a 'terrorist'. I missed a couple of days off school because I couldn't handle the bullying from the other kids; it was really upsetting. The teachers know what is going on but they don't do anything to stop it. I wish people could just see me as a human - the same as them." (Girl, 15)

"Last week me and my mum were sworn and spat at when we went shopping. I think people think that all Muslims are terrorists. It was really scary and it makes me not want to leave my house anymore. I can feel people staring at me when I walk past them and it makes me really anxious. My friends don't really understand how I feel. I feel really depressed." (Girl, 12)

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